Bird Photography & The Law

A few years ago, I came across a PDF document on the RSPB Website called Bird Photography and the Law. It lists the considerations that apply when photographing birds at the nest and lists: “Birds that are protected by special penalties and that may not be photographed at or near a nest without a licence”. I downloaded a copy and made it available on my website. I’ve added a link to this document below.

Sometime later, I noticed that the document had been removed from the RSPB Website, so I contacted the RSPB and asked if the document had been updated. I was referred to a frequently asked questions page, which in turn referred me to a page titled The Schedules. Both these pages have since disappeared. However, I eventually found the new home of The Schedules on the RSPB website. Let’s hope this stays around for a while!

The original document contains a bullet-list: “some extra considerations apply to photography at the nest”, but I haven’t been able to find this information on the current RSPB website. It appears that our behaviour falls back under The Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (not an easy read). The RSPB sums it up:

Basic protection

All birds, their nests and eggs are protected by law and it is thus an offence, with certain exceptions (see Exceptions), to:

  • Intentionally or recklessly disturb any wild bird listed on Schedule 1 while it is nest building, or at a nest containing eggs or young, or disturb the dependent young of such a bird.

The Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (RSPB)